Residents of Gobor valley demands for re-opening of Durah Pass
CHITRAL: The residents of Gobor valley of Chitral have
demanded of the government for opening of Durah Pass (also known as
Salim Pass ) which remained a major trade route between Pakistan
and Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for more than a decade but
closed in the year 2006.
Talking to Chitral Times here on Sunday, the member of
district council from the area, Muhammad Hussain said that it was
an all-weather trade routeand had brought prosperity to the local
people as it gave employment to more than ten thousand
persons in different forms thereby reducing poverty to a great
Giving a background of the route, he said that it came to be used
as trade route in early 1990s after the return of Russian troops
from Afghanistan when the jeepable track was extended to the Durrah
Pass (14000 feet above sea level) and the commodities of daily use
were transported to Badakhshan province through it.
He said that like Torkham border, the Shah Salim area came to be a
hub of business activity as a market was established there to deal
with the items of daily use which the people of Badakhshan
Mr. Hussain said that it also served as a trade centre of gem
stones and hand-woven woolen carpets and rugs of Badakhshan and
many items of dried fruits including almond and pista of superb
quality while the volume of trade crossed the figure of billion
He said that the trade route has caused a galore of mutton in
Chitral making its availability in lowest possible rate as the
Badakhshan province supported a high density of goats and sheep
population which the people sold for purchasing items of daily use
while livestock keeping is still their major source of sustenance.
Gul Rahman, driver of a taxi jeep, said that the days the route was
opened for trade were the golden days of transporter fraternity as
they earned a lot by transporting the luggage from Chitral city to
the border and Ishkashum and charged exorbitant fares.
Mr. Rahman recalled that the journey was very tough in the dirt and
rock-strewn tracks but the high rates of fares lured them to travel
to the border of Badakhshan while on their return, their vehicles
were loaded with gem stones, carpets or dried fruits.
The route remained the largest source of revenue collection for the
district council in the form of octroi tax on the items brought
here from Badakhshan which included gem stones, dried fruits,
livestock and carpets.
Muhammad Hussain, the district councilor, said that valley of Gobor
and its adjacent villages were backward and the residents mired in
abject poverty as no substantial farming is possible due to
climatic conditions and their condition can be changed for better
if the route is reopened and revitalized.
“I will take up the issue vociferously in the floor of district
council in its very first session for getting the route reopened
trade which is in fact the route of prosperity for my constituency
in particular and the district in general”, he said.
“The market near Durah Pass once a busy place teeming with both
Chitrali and Badakhshi has now reduced to a ruin over the decade of
their abandonment and it is my firm resolve to get the route
reopened once again and restore the economic edifice of the
district”, he said.